Studios vs. Theaters: When Can We Watch Movies On TV?

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Movie studios and theater owners are said to be gearing up for a fight – but it’s not over the cost of movies or how many will require larger screens or special glasses. Instead, the battle is about the window between theater releases for movies and their video on demand debut. Studios are looking to shortening the window between theater release and VoD release from 120 days to 45, something that theater owners are (understandably) upset about. If the studios get their way, it won’t be a first – some independent movies have even gone day-and-date between theater and VoD releases in the past – but making such a widescale change could be disastrous for theaters, according to John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners:

The little V.O.D. distributions of little movies by companies such as Magnolia and IFC Entertainment have been happening for years. Only very few cinema companies will exhibit those movies. Those movies are not significant. The premium V.O.D. being discussed by some major studios now concerns exhibitors much, much more.

According to the New York Times, studios may not care about exhibitors’ concerns, however; the paper reports that Warner Bros. is just one of multiple studios that is planning on testing earlier VoD releases within the next few months. The movie singularity is closer than we might think.

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